Tag Archives: McKay

One Year Ago

One year ago I boarded a United Airlines / Aer Lingus flight from San Francisco to Dublin, Ireland via Boston. Over the course of the next three weeks (2 weeks in Ireland, 4 days in Scotland, 4 days in England) I fell in love. Well, I fell MORE in love. Having spent the previous two years researching as much as I could about Ireland for my novel, The Keepers of Éire, I had already fallen in love with the lands of some of my ancestors. Specifically, my Irish ancestors: the Crowley’s and my Scottish ancestors: the McKay’s.

Someday I’d like to visit more of Europe, to see my mother’s side—the Holland’s and Stickney’s. And, of course, Spain for the Bernal’s. But that is for later.

I’ve learned so much this past year: about Ireland, the places my characters travel to, the writing process (write, write, write, rewrite, rewrite, rewrite), and my own writing habits. I’ve learned that I’m not just a fantasy writer, but a Writer. I write whatever I am inspired to write, including personal narrative and poetry. I’ve learned that sharing my love of my story with others and my travels inspires me to work harder, to write more. I’ve learned to let go when my characters divert from my idea of the storyline and allow them to tell their story. This is hard for me—the organized, outline following, meticulous planner. Okay, anal.

I loved Ireland. The spectacular and historical places I visited, the mystical stone dances and ruins, the vibrant cities, the festive pubs with their soul-touching music, and the incredibly wonderful people. The images are forever imprinted in my memory. Along with my computer’s (over 3500 photos and video clips). I do have the DVD I compiled, though only a few have seen it. I promise, I have it and hope to have viewings at some point. I only hope I do justice to the land and people of my ancestry with The Keepers of Éire.

One year age: the airplane doors closed. I sat anxiously in my seat by the window, and wondered what the next few weeks would reveal to me. My heart beat with excitement and wonder.

My life changed when I started writing this story.

And, I fell in love.

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Filed under England 2011, Ireland 2011, Scotland 2011

Scottish Highlands – May 19

May 19: Day 2 of the Highlands tour and we are off to see Clava Cairns – 4000 year old stone circles and burial mounds. Let me just say: Awesome!! So like the ones in Ireland. When I write book 2, my Scottish dragons will need to reside near these stones to pull their magic from this place.

We continued to Culloden Moor where Bonnie Prince Charlie’s Jacobites were finally defeated by government soldiers in April 1746. After reading Diana Gabeldon’s Outlander series, I have a loyalty to the Jacobites and seeing this battlefield and the many headstones of the Highland Clans was heartwrenching.

Onward through the Cairngorms National Park toward Pitlochry. We stopped briefly at Ruthuen Barracks, another stategic government stronghold of the time.

Lunch in Pitlochry. Notice the McKay?? Ancestors of mine?

We toured the Blair Athol Distillery. They produce excellent Scottish Whisky. No photos allowed inside due to the high alcohol content within the buildings (risk of sparks from electronic devices).

Our last stop of the tour was at the Hermitage, where we hiked a lovely path to a waterfall and got to see some forest.

The tour concluded back in Edinburgh. Our tour guide, Bill, told wonderful, rich stories of all that we saw. I met some wonderful peopleKen and Connie from Canada, Andrew and Lisa from Tasmania, and the rest of the baker’s dozen. I am so glad I found this tour and was able to join in. It had everything I wanted to see in the Scottish Highlands and more. Kudos to Heart of Scotland Tours.

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Filed under Scotland 2011